Dover, Del. — Delaware State University has joined the growing trend of adding women’s triathlon to its list of intercollegiate sports.
Women’s triathlon will become the university’s 19th varsity sport and 13th women’s program and begin its first season of competition in 2021-2022. The university will become the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and second Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to sponsor women’s triathlon.
“Women’s triathlon is an NCAA emerging sport, and Delaware State has a successful history of launching emerging women’s programs,” stated DSU Director of Athletics, Dr. D. Scott Gines. Gines stated, “Women’s triathlon is comprised of three-lifetime sports; we have an ideal climate and location; we’re surrounded by ideal training sites, trails, facilities, and personnel; and I am confident that potential high-achieving student-athletes in Delaware and our surrounding states will be drawn to this championship program.” DSU women’s triathlon will become the first NCAA program in the State of Delaware.
“USA Triathlon is proud to recognize Delaware State as the second historically black university to offer varsity women’s triathlon,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “Fostering diversity in the U.S. multisport community is a long-term process — but working with HBCUs to create avenues for young African-American women to compete has been key to our efforts. In addition, we are eager to witness the talent and competition that DSU’s inaugural team will bring to the women’s collegiate triathlon movement as our eighth Division I program.”
The initial launch of women’s triathlon to DSU’s varsity sport offerings is made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the varsity level.
Triathlon was approved in January 2014 as the latest NCAA Emerging Sport for Women for NCAA Division I, II and III institutions. Women’s triathlon is a fall sport, and the varsity season includes three regional qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Races are sprint distance, featuring an open water 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer cycling and a 5-kilometer run.
USA Triathlon is the national governing body for the multisport disciplines of triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon is a member federation of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the International Triathlon Union. Its headquarters are in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
DSU will become the thirty-fifth institution to sponsor women’s triathlon as a varsity program, with Texas Christian University as the most recent addition in January of this year. Hampton University is the only other HBCU to offer the sport, signing on in Oct. 2018. Arizona State has won the last four Division I team national titles at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships.
Women’s triathlon is the first new sport at Delaware State since the addition of women’s lacrosse and women’s golf during the 2013-14 academic year.
Courtesy: DSU Athletics